Democratic watchman. (Bellefonte, Pa.) 1855-1940, September 21, 1928, Image 2

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    A RAPER teats
Bemorealcs Jaca
oo —
Bellefonte, Pa., September 21, 1928.
A King, a Pope, and a Kaiser,
And a Queen—most fair was she—
Went sailing, sailing, sailing,
Over a sunny sea,
And amid them sat a beggar—
A churl of low degree;
And they all went sailing, sailing,
Over a sunny sea.
And the King said to the Kaiser,
And his comrades fair free,
“Let us turn adrift this beggar,
This churl of low degree;
For he taints the balmy odors
That blows to you and me;
As we travel—sailing, sailing,
Over the sunny sea.
“The ship is mine,” said the beggar—
That churl of low degree;
“And we're all of us sailing, sailing,
To the grave, o'er the sunny sea.
And you may not, and you cannot,
Get rid of mine or me;
No, not for your crown and scepters—
And my name is Death!” quoth he.
—Charles Mackey.
. Benskin, although he had been in
many tight corners, faced death now
few feet away from his chest, and he
—death, instant and unpleasant—for
the first time in his life. He could
see into the barrel of the automatic,
held with unswerving fingers only a
was physiognomist enough to realize
that in the face of the man who held
it there was little mercy or considera-
tion. The light blue eyes were hard
almost to stoniness, the hand as
steady as a rock.
“The name! Out with it!” the man
with the gun demanded harshly.
“I don’t know what you're talking
about,” Benskin assured him quietly,
almost indifferently. “I came in wo
borrow a can of gasoline. No one di-
rected me and I haven’t the least idea
what your name is or who you are.”
: As though speech had in some way
relieved the tension, Benskin found
time for a swift but comprehensive
glance around the little room into
which he had made so unfortunate an
entrance. No apartment in the world
could have seemed less like the abode
of such a desperate person as its oc-
cupant seemed to be—the prettily
furnished drawing-room of a country
cottage, with French windows,
through which Benskin had entered,
opening on a trim lawn. The furniture
was simple but comfortable; a case
of tennis rackets, a shotgun and a bag
of golf clubs leaning against the wall
gave the place a homely appearance.
Lounging in a chair in the back-
ground was a very attractive young
woman of the modern type, in golfing
clothes, short skirts, and a tam-o’-
shanter which she had just thrown
away, disclosing an Eton bob. She
had been binding up the handle of a
brassy and had the air of one listen-
ing to a conversation in which she
took only the mildest interest. She
was essentially of the country type,
healthy-looking, pleasantly sunburnt,
with a complexion that was innocent
of any form of cosmetics.
It occurred to Benskin that she
would have looked distinctly more in
place swinging a golf-club on the first
tee at Sunningdale than as the com-
panion of a man who appeared to car-
ry an automatic even in the pocket of
his flannel trousers. The latter spoke
“You are Benskin, the detective,
aren’t you?”
“I am,” was the prompt admission,
“but I can assure you that this after-
noon, at any rate, I am not profes-
sionally occupied. I meant to take
my car out for an hour or so—some-
times even a detective has a holiday!
—stopped down the lane opposite
your cottage, realized that I was out
of gasoline, saw that you had a gar-
age and that you and your sister were
seated here, and came to beg for the
loan of a can of gasoline.”
The girl looked up from the task,
which she had just brought to its neat
conclusion. “It is possible, Alan,” she
suggested, “that the man is telling
the truth.”
“Possible but not very likely,” the
other replied. ;
“My car is out there in the lane if
you doubt my word,” Benskin inter.
vened. “You will find further proof
in the fact that my tank is empty.”
The girl rose to her feet. I will
go and see,” she announced.
She walked lightly out of the room
and crossed the lawn with flying foot-
steps. The young man was unbend-
ing; his tone remained full of menace.
“I don’t believe in miracles,” he
scoffed. “You're the man I expected
would get on our tracks, and to tell
Mme you wandered into the one place
in England where we ought to have
been safe, by accident, is a trifle too
much. Come, Benskin, why don’t you
own up? There are only two people
in the world could have given away
the secret of this little refuge. Out
with the name, and if I can think of
any scheme to save your life, I will.”
“I have told you the simple and pre-
cise truth,” Benskin assured his in-
quisitor. “I have no doubt that the
business of crime and its detection
continues as usual in my temporary
absence, but I am finishing today a
week’s vacation and incidentally re-
covering from an attack of influenza.
That is why my knees are beginning
to shake.”
The girl reappeared. “The man’s
story is true,” she reported. “You're
making an idiot of yourself, Alan.
His car it out there, and the gasoline
tank is as dry as a bone.”
“Then,” the young man declared
curtly, “you are the most unlucky
person I ever knew, Benskin. You
have blundered into the most danger-
ous spot for one of your profession in
this part of the world.”
“Under the circumstances,” Ben-
skin remarked, “I Imagine it would
not be tactful to ask your name, but at
the same time I should like to remind
you that I am getting very stiff stand-
ing in this unnatural attitude, and
your finger doesn’t seem to me to be bered the physique of his pursuer, and
quite as steady as it was. ]
we discuss the situation under slight-
ly more agreeable conditions?”
The girl smiled faintly. “For a
detective,” she observed, “I rather
like him, don’t you, Alan? I think
he’s right about that automatic too.
Take his parole not to go until we
have decided what can be done.” :
“I never give my parole,” Benskin
interrupted quickly. “I am not a frae
agent. Under certain conditions it
would be my duty to Scotland Yard
to break it.”
“A sportsman, at any rate,” the
girl approved. “Alan, you don’t need
a gun so long as he hasn’t got one
“See whether he has.”
The girl came over and made a
brief examination. “Not a sign of
one,” she announced.
“Cross the room,” the young man
enjoined, “and sit in that easy chair
with your face to the light. That's
right. Lock the door, Hilda.” 2
The girl obeyed. Her companion
lowered his gun, placed it on the ta-
ble by his side, and took a seat within
easy reach of the French windows.
“Now, Hilda,” he said, “let us hear
what you have to suggest. You know
the situation. What can we do with
Mr. Benskin?”
She threw herself into a low chair,
and considered the matter.
“I don’t want to leave here,” she
admitted. “I’ve just got my Golf Un-
ion handicap, and there's a competi-
tion next week. The place suits us
both, too. What a nuisance you are,
Mr. Benskin.”
“Confounded luck!” the young man
muttered. “There isn’t one of you
men on the force would have had wit
enough to track us down here, and
you come and blunder into it.”
“You must remember,” Benskin
ventured, “that I still haven’t the
faintest idea who you are.”
“Perhaps not,” the young man re-
torted “but when you get back to
your job—if you ever do get back to
it—you won't be long finding out.”
There was the sound of a cheery
cry from outside.
“Uncle Jo!” the girl exclaimed.
“Now we're in for it,” the young
man muttered grimly.
There entered, ir tennis flannels, a
plump, elderly gentleman. He enter-
ed smiling, but his expression chang-
ed as he realized the presence of a
“What a set!” he exclaimed, eying
Benskin inquisitively. “Six all, and
three deuce and vantages. That doc-
tor fellow takes some starting, but
he’s pretty useful when he moves. A
visitor, eh! Is it my fancy, sir,” he
added, “or is your face familiar to
“It might be,” the young man in-
tervened gloomily. “This is Mr. Ben-
skin, Uncle Jo, from Scotland Yard.”
Uncle Jo seemed suddenly a very
different person. The geniality faded
from his face. His mouth closed like
a rat trap.
“Paying us a friendly little visit,
Mr. Benskin?” he asked quietly.
“In any case my visit seems to have
been a mistake,” Benskin confessed.
“I came in to borrow a can of gaso-
line. To the best of my belief I’ve
never seen-gne of you before, yet our
young friend recognized me and ap-
pears disturbed.”
“Yes, I can imagine that,” Uncle
Jo acknowledged thoughtfully.
“Assuming his story to be true,”
the younger man propounded, “and
there is a certain amount of corrobor-
ation in the fact that his car is out-
side, without any gasoline—assuming
his story to be true, what are we to
do about it?”
“Dear, dear me!” the elderly gen-
tleman murmured, taking up a press
for his racket, but all the time watch-
ing Benskin. “This is most unfor-
“I think,” Benskin suggested, pis-
ing to his feet, “that the best thing
I can do is to clear out before one of
you says something of which I might
have to take official cognizance.”
Uncle Jo’s corpulent frame barred
the way. “Not just yet, Mr. Ben-
skin. Not just for a moment or two,
let me beg. You have thrust a very
interesting problem upon us. I should
like to hear how my nephew proposes
to deal with it.”
“Crudely,” the girl observed. “I
have only just managed to persuade
him to put his gun away.”
“A natural instinct,” Uncle Jo com-
mented, taking out his handkerchief
and dabbing his forehead. “Postpone
the seance, if you please, while I mix
myself a drink.” He made his way
out into the hall and reentered in a
moment or two carrying a tumbler
from which there came as he walked
a pleasant clink of ice. “Any ideas?”
he asked cheerfully.
The younger man shook his head.
‘He refuses to give his parole. I
don’t know that we could accept it
if he would. I'm afraid—-”
Uncle Jo. nodded. That air of be-
nevolence, which doubtless made him a
welcome guest at some of the local
households, had altogether disappear-
ed. He drew his nephew to one side.
The girl listened to their whispering,
and as she listened, she lost entirety
her air of god-natured indifference.
She looked: steadily across at Benskin.
With her left hand she gripped some-
thing imaginary; with her right she
went through a little pantomime which
Benskin at once understood.
He braced himself for the enterprise,
rose quietly to his feet, poised him-
self for a moment upon his toes, and
dashed for the window. The young
man made a flying leap to intercept
him but Benskin stooped under his
outstretched arm. The former hesi-
tated no longer. His automatic flash-
ed into the sunlight. Benskin knew
then that the girl’s gesture had con-
veyed to him the truth. There was
he click of the trigger—and no re-
Breathless moments followed.
Benskin was no mean runner, but be-
fore he had cleared the corner of the
lawn he heard the sound of swift
footsteps behind him. He had no
time to turn his head. He made for
the gate, listening intently.
After ‘that first spurt he decided
that he was holding his own, but it
was a mile uphill ‘to the main road,
and his car was useless. He remem-
Couldn’t + for a moment his heart sank.
came a wave of wonderful recollec-
tion. In the pocket of his car—in the
right-hand pocket! No need to save
his strength now.
He dashed forward, braced himself
for the spring and took the low white
gate almost in his stride, dashed
round to the back of his car, felt ea-
gerly, almost in terrified fashion, lest
his memory had failed him, in the
loose pocket. It was there—charged
—a turn of the wrist, loaded.
He stood out in the open just as the
young man, full of confidence but
with a very terrible look in his face,
sprang into the lane. The positions
now were reversed. His pursuer
looked into the barrell of Benskin’s
automatic, and Benskin’s hand was as
steady as his own.
“Just a yard or two nearer, please,”
the latter invited. “I want to talk to
The young man came on stealthily.
Benskin jerked his gun upwards and
pulled the trigger. The bullet flew
skyward with a sharp little spit.
“Just to prove to you that I keep
my gun loaded,” Benskin observed.
“Now stand just where you are,
The other obeyed sullenly. “And
now what?” he demanded, his blue
eyes rebellious, a mirror of menacing
Benskin opened his lips to answer
and suddenly paused. His heart gave
a little jump. Upon the foot-board,
by the hood of his car, stood a can of
“I see that the gasoline I sent for
has arrived,” he pointed out. “I think
you and I have had enough of each
other for the afternoon. Supposing
you do me the last service of pouring
that gasoline into my tank?”
“I'm darned if I will!” the young
man refused. “Blast!”
A very handsome limousine turned
the corner and glided down the hill.
Benskin cautiously concealed his gun
and moved a little nearer to the hedge.
The limousine pulled up. A girl leaped
“Alan, you lazy person!” she ex-
claimed. “Why haven’t you been near
the links today?”
The young man moved towards the
limousine. Benskin calmy poured in
the gasoline, started his engine and
thrust in the gear. From half-way
up the hill he looked back through the
rear window. His late antagonist
was still talking to the occupant of
the limousine. Three-quarters of a
mile ahead was the main road, a
stream of cars, a police station near
at hand, and safety. Benskin pushed
in his second speed an careened gaily
on his way.
The Sub-Commissioner tapped the
end of a cigaret upon the table and
lighted it. The fingers of his other
hand were toying with a roughly
written telephone message.
“I suppose you're sure, Benskin,”
he queried, “that everything last
night was pretty well as you've re-
ported it?”
Benskin smiled reminiscently. “It
was a genuine hold-up, sir,” he said.
“I can assure you that.”
Major Houlden
of paper by his side. r
“This is the telephone message
from Cawston this morning,” he con-
fided. “It is from Sergeant Alston,
who is a very intelligent man: ‘Have
visited the cottage down Cawston
Lane usually called the Small House,
this morning. I found the owner, Mr.
McDougal, an elderly gentleman,
mowing the lawn. The young lady
and gentleman had gone to play
golf,” »
Benskin’s face frankly expressed
his surprise. Major Houlden cough-
ed, but continued:
“You must remember that in none
of the modern archives here have we
any trio such as you describe on eith-
er ‘Suspected’ or the ‘Wanted’ list,
Run down and have another look at
the place, of course, if you want to,
but on the face of it, it really looks
as though you had been made the vic-
tim of a practical joke.”
“I don’t think so, sir,” was the firm
though respectful reply. “In any case
I should very much like to go down
this morning. May I take Brooks and
another man—in— plain clothes—just
a little holiday jaunt?”
Major Houlden shrugged his should-
ers. “You don’t usually make mis-
takes, Benskin,” he admitted. “Cer-
tainly, go and clear the matter up.”
The small house basked still in the
sunshine of a perfect spring day. The
neatly trimmed flower-beds filled the
air with perfume. Early butterflies
were floating about. There was the
hum of bees from the herbaceous
borders. Yet there was somehow a
changed look about the place. Ben-
skin was conscious of it directly he
approached the low French windows,
€ was more than ever sure of it
when an elderly gentleman, who was
a complete stranger to him, rose from
a wicker chair up on the portico.
“Mr. McDougal ?” Benskin inquir-
“My name, sir.”
“Are you the owner of this cot-
tage 7”
“Y am.” 3
“Can you tell me where your ten-
ants are?”
“Just what I'm asking myself,”
was the puzzled reply. “Queer kettle
of fish altogether. They’ve gone.”
“What, for good?”
“Seems so. I come up to do a bit
of gardening once or twice a week.
The young people generally go off to
golf, but the old gentleman’s usually
around. This morning I've seen no
one and what do you make of this ?
I found it in the tool-shed when I took
the lawn-mower back.”
“This” was a plain sheet of aper
to which were pinned several ank-
notes. There were a few words, writ-
ten in a bold feminine hand:
Dear Mr. McDougal,
So sorry to have to leave your
charming cottage before our time.
Notes attached. Please distribute
the extra five pounds among the
boy and the two girls who come up
from the village.
“How long have they been here?”
Benskin asked.
“Seven weeks. And very good ten-
turned to the slips
ants too! Made friends in a minute
with all the folks around. The young
people were always up at the Hall,
and the uncle played tennis with the
doctor every afternoon. What might
you be wanting with them, sir?”
“Our business,” Benskin confided,
after a moment’s hesitation, “is rath-
er private. If you don’t mind, we’ll
leave it for the moment. I'll tel] you
later on. In the meantime may my
friends and I see over the place ?”
Mr. McDougal removed from his
mouth the pipe which he had been
smoking and struggled to his feet,
“Don’t know as there’s any harm
about that,” he assented. “Were you
thinking of taking it?”
“Well, I might consider the mat-
ter,” Benskin temporized. “Certain-
ly it’s the most delightful place for
anyone who wanted to be quiet.”
“I built it for myself,” Mr. Mc-
Dougal confided, “but I lost my wife,
and rubber treated me badly, so I'm
glad to let it for a month or two in
the spring or summer and to take a
room down in the village. This way,
They went from room to room of
the very attractive little abode, with-
out finding anything in the least un-
usual. In the twin sitting-rooms, op-
ening one into the other, Benskin
lingered for some time.
“Do you mind looking round very
carefully,” he asked their guide, “and
telling me if you recognize any arti-
cles, however trivial, which do not be-
long to you?”
Mr. McDougal was getting more
and more inquisitive. “Look here,”
he demanded, “who are you chaps
anyway ?”
“We're from Scotland Yard,” Ben-
skin told him. “Look around this
room carefully, and tell me whether
there are any articles left not belong-
ing to you.”
{ Mr. McDougal obeyed, but he was
a little dazed.
“Can’t see a thing,” he announced,
“or anything missing either. Paid
up everything to the nail. Gentle-
folk if ever I knew any. You're on'
the wrong track, Mr. Scotland Yard.”
“Perhaps so,” Benskin acknowledg-
» Picking up a snap-shot and look-
|ing at it. “We often make mistakes.
| You see,” he went on, turning over
some magazines and papers, “if we
‘were too afraid of making mistakes
we should never discover nything.”
{ “Well, if there's anything to be dis-
covered about my late tenants, I’ll
eat my hat,” Mr. McDougal declared
Apparently the late tenants had
made a clean sweep of of their own
belongings, but had displayed, as the
; landlord again pointed out, the most
i meticulous crae to leave behind every-
thing of his. They made a tour of
the outbuildings, after which Benskin
‘induced him to take a seat on the
i “Tell me the names of these ten-
.ants of yours, please,” he begged.
i “Mr. and Miss Craven-Stewart, the
young people, and Mr. Bellamy, the
, elder gentleman,” wag the prompt re-
“And did they give you bankers’
: references ?”
“Never asked for them. They call-
ed round here one day in a car, saw
| the sign ‘To let,’ looked over the place
rand slept here that night—gave me
ank-notes for a month in advance.
: brought down a man servant and a
‘maid from town next day, and I sent
{two girls and a boy up from the vil-
age. The two young ones joined the
i golf club straight-away, and they’ve
{been hard at it ever since.”
“Do you mean that they haven’t
( left the place?”
{ “They went up to London two ur
three times, I believe,” Mr. McDoug-
al confided.
“I want you, if you can,” his com-
, banion urged, “to remember those
(dates. This is very important.”
“Well, one was a fortnight last
Wednesday, another was the ednes-
{day before, and last Sunday they
| were up too. All three went together
| old Mr Bellary: dre te pone?
| don’t know what time they came back, .
| but
they were at golf in the morn-
“How many cars did they keep?”
. Benskin asked.
| Mr. McDougal hesitated. “Well,
j they never had but one at a time—
| there isn’t room for more in the gar-
.age—but I noticed that twice they
| drove away in one car and came back
‘have a house and garage somewhere
!in London.”
“You haven’t had any address of
theirs in London, I suppose ?”
“Can’t say that I have. I had a0
need for one.”
i Mr. McDougal’s manner was almost
| hostile. Benskin made a few notes,
| “You won't mind if I use your tele-
phone, Mr. McDougal?” he asked.
“You can use what you want to,”
the other replied, “but it’s pretty cer-
tain you're on a wrong egg.”
| Benskin smiled at him ingratiat-
‘ingly. “Iry and remember, Mr. Mec-
! Dougal,” he begged, “that we
{ shouldn’t be giving you all this trou-
ble unless we had some cause for it;
| neither would your tenants have dis.
appeared without a word of warning,
| as they have done, just because I paid
i them a chance visit yesterday, unless
| there had been something queer about
, them.”
| Mr. McDougal was momentarily
| thoughtful. “What are you telephon-
ing about?” he inquired.
{ “I'm telephoning,” Benskin confid-
ed, “for our finger-print expert. You
, noticed that I locked the door as I
‘came out. I want you to leave the
| place just as it is for twelve hours.
| Afterwards we shall have completed
‘all the investigations that are neces-
| sary.”
Mr. McDougal nodded.
i against the police,” he admitted, “but
{much good may it do you! Look
| who’s here!”
A two-seater of very sporting ap-
pearance swept in at the drive gates.
A girl in golf clothes leaned out of
the car.
“Where's Miss Craven-Stewart, Mr.
McDougal?” she called out. “I’ve
i been waiting for her up at the links.”
“All gone up to London,” was the
1 respectful reply.
: Benskin stepped forward. “Ma-
iin another. Made me think they must
“Can’t go’
dame,” he said, “do you mind telling
me your name?”
“Certainly,” she acquiesced, looking
at him in surprise. “My name is
Strathers—Lady Helen Strathers. I
live in the village.”
“May I ask whether you have
known Mr. and Miss Craven-Stewart
long 7”
“Is that any particular business of
yours?” the girl rejoined coldly.
“To some extent it is, Lady Helen.”
She hesitated. Benskin’s manner
was sufficiently impressive.
“I have only known them since they
came to live here,” she admitted.
Benskin raised his hat.
“If you see them when they return,
will you tell them I called,” Lady
Helen enjoined, turning to Mr. Me-
Dougal, as she pressed down her
self-starter. “I’m expecting them
both to dine with me tonight.”
ey remained silent until the car
“You see,” Benskin pointed out,
“none of you know a thing aboat
these people, delightful though they
may be.”
Mr. McDougal] rubbed his forehead.
“It's a rum go!” he admitted.
Curiously enough the Sub-Commis-
sioner still remained unimpressed
with regard to the three mysterious
tenants of the Small House.” He lis-
tened almost indifferently to Ben-
skin's acocunt of their abrupt depar-
“I dare say they're up to some-
thing,” he admitted, “but you know
very well how our records stand to-
day. You can’t point to any trio of
criminals who are doing dangerus
work and with whom we are not in
touch—especially three answering to
your description.”
“That’s quite true, sir,” Benskin
acknowledged, “yet we can’t get away
from the fact that the young man was
on the point of shooting me when I
blundered in. In fact he'd have done
it if the girl hadn’t taken the car-
tridges out.”
“Bluff, perhaps,” Major Houlden
“But I can assure you, sir, that it
wasn’t bluff,” Benskin persisted. “He
drew on me for all he was worth. I
heard the click.”
“Over six feet, you say,” Houlden
mused, “of the gentlemanly type.”
“Persona grata with Lady Helen
Strathers and her household,” Ben-
skin added. “The same breeding, I
should say, without a doubt.”
“What about the girl?” :
Benskin was silent for a moment.
“I should think she’s outside it all,”
he said slowly.
“She can’t be,” Houlden objected,
“if she knew that the young man was
up against it so hard that the chances
were he meant to shoot you if she
hadn’t fixed his revolver. Then, what
about Uncle Jo?”
“A criminal if ever I
one,” Benskin declared.
“You haven't been able to trace
what became of them ?”
Benskin shook his head. “That in
itself shows they’re no ordinary trio,”
he declared. “They probably went
south, turned the car over to an ac-
complice, and doubled back wherever
they wanted to go.”
The Sub-Commissioner studied for
a few moments a list on ‘the table be-
fore him.
“Don’t think I'm unsympathetic
about your little adventure, Benskin,”
he said, “but it just happens that
there isn’t a single undetected crime
which is worrying us just now that
could be traced to any one of those
three, and the man we want more
than anyone else, as you know, is
Lowenstein. He's a vulgar savage
brute, and we’ve definite information
that he’s in Paris.”
“Out of the question,” Benskin ad-
set eyes ou
mitted. “He wouldn’t fit in any-
“Then the only other big thing
we're up against,” Houlden continued,
leaning back in his chair, “is a hid-
eous succession of burglaries. Still,
we've got the description of the man
now, and things have been quiet for
the last few weeks. You say your
fellow was over six feet?”
i “Several inches.”
I “Well, we know our man is some-
thing like five feet one,” the Sub-
Commissioner reminded his subordi-
‘nate. “No, I'm afraid I can’t take
much interest in your desperadoes,
Benskin. I don't find a place for any
one of them. You wouldnt like to
cross to Paris, would you, and have a
try for Lowenstein ?”
“I'd rather stay here for a week or
ten days, if you don’t mind, sir.”
! “Go your own way, the Sub-Com-
missioner enjoined tonelessly.
i For a week or more Benskin’s ac-
tivities were directed in a somewhat
peculiar fashion. He spent his after-
noons and the greater part of the
mornings wandering about Grosvenor
Square, Park Lane, Berkeley Square,
and the other fashionable regions of
West End. He displayed an inordi- |
nate curiosity concerning any of the
palatial edifices in these districts
which boasted a courtyard behind, and
he continually referred to a snap-
shot which he carried in his pocket.
Whatever may have been in his
mind, however, he met with no suec-
cess. The photograph which he had
extracted from the waste-paper basket
in the sitting-room of the Small
House was without a doubt a snap-
shot of the back quarters of a London |
mansion of very considerable size.
He failed, however, to identify it.
| The first progress on a quest which,
even to his obstinate mind, seemed to
"be becoming hopeless, came to him
entirely by accident. He was having
tea with an acquaintance after watch-
ing the polo at Ranelagh one Satur-
day afternoon, when a middle-aged
woman and a girl with a little train
of followers passed across the lawn.
Benskin, who had been bored to death
by his companion, suddenly thanked
God for him.
| “You know everyone, Percy,” he
{said. “Tell me who the woman is
| with the wonderful pearls and French
'gown—the one with the rather pret-
ty, athletic-looking girl?” ,
Benskin’s vis-a-vis made
, face.
| “Same thing,” he declared, “when-
ever you see anyone carrying the
| wealth of the Indies about her—she’s
American. That’s Mrs. Husset Brown,
‘an American—just taken a house in
a wry
London. Millions and millions and
millions. Not bad-loeking . either. -
They say she’s had five husbands.
She’s giving an evening party to-
“Do you know the girl with her?”
Benskin inquired.
“Know her by sight, but forget her
name,” the other acknowledged.
“Whereabouts is Mrs. Husset.
Brown’s house ?”
“Number 14-B, Curzon Street—
used to be the Millionaire's Nest.
Want a card for her do’ tomorrow
night? Her secretary offered me a
“I'd like one,” Benskin accepted.
“Do you mind if I clear out. They
seem to be drifting this way, and I'm
not keen about being recognized.”
Benskin drove his little ear back
and pulled up at the corner of Shep-
herd Market. He plunged into the
network of streets behind, and in a
very few moments his curiosity was
He glanced once more at the snap-
shot before he replaced it in his
Outside the gorgeous sleeping
apartments of Mrs. Husset Brown,
comfortably enconced in an easy
chair, with an empty supper tray on
a round table in front of him, a box
of cigars and a pile of evening papers
at his side, sat Mr. Peter Bracknell,
the famous detective from New York
who was never more than fifty yards
from his august mistress and whose
boast it was that not for ten years,
although she traveled about with mil-
lions of pounds’ worth of jewels, had
she lost a single safetypin. His dark
eyes were clear and sleepless. His
senses were fully awake.
The stairs which led to the sacred
apartment were lighted and visible.
Upon the table, within easy reach,
was a six-shooter, stale from disuse.
But outside the house, up that long
gray stretch of perpendicular stone,
strange things were happening. . .
Mr. Bracknell, in the corridor,
smiled. He was reading an account
of the last baseball game between
New York and St. Louis. Mrs. Hus-
set Brown slept soundly. She heard
nothing of the creaking window, pur-
posely left ajar, now a little more and
a little more open. The increased
current of cold air failed to wake her.
A strangely clad black form crept
into the room, a little slit of white
where the face might have been—
nothing else—the costume of an acro-
bat. Mrs. Husset Brown began +o
snore. Outisde, Mr. Bracknell chuck-
led. A wonderful home run, that!
And up to the side of the bedstead
stole the slim black figure,
There was the snip of a pair of
scissors, the loosening of a key from
a limp wrist, the swinging open of a
safe door. There they were! Emer-
alds which had graced the throne of
a queen thrown out of the window, in-
to the bowl of darkness. Silence! The
aim had been good. Back again. Dia-
monds from the neck of the one wo-
man who had conquered a great Ar-
gentine millionaire. Down they
sparkled and glittered through the
blackness. And once more they reach-
ed their goal. Back again.
There were the pearls of a
great empress, shimmering ghostlike
through the dimly lighted room. Out.
they went—again to their goal. A
handful next time—lightly treated,
but the diamond bracelet had taken
years to match and a royal crown was
the poorer for the emeralds in the
great pendant. Finished!
Outside, there was the faint sound
of the striking of a match as Mr.
Bracknell lighted another cigar. Mrs.
Husset Brown groaned in her sleep.
The safe door swung to on its well-
oiled hinges. Back again into the
darkness a black-clad figure stole, the
window was pushed gently to its
former angle, never a moment's hesi-
tation, over the veranda, hand over
hand by the silken cord, a pause on
the next balcony to release the grap-
pling-iron, a crawl along a perilous
cornice, a second’s lingering on a bal-
cony, another descent, a sprawl
against the wall, a slow lowering
i brick by brick. :
Again the grappling hook. Anoth-
er swing through the air, a pause, the
: slim left hand gripping the iron of
| the bottom balcony, the release of the
"hook, a light jump to the ground.
| “My cloak, Alan!” the breathless
| figure whispered.
| But is was neither her cloak nor
!Alan’s hand which held her. The
(light from a torch flashed out mo-
jmentarily. The throb of the motor
{ behind the wall was there, but it was
1a different note. In that spasmodic
{illumination she looked into the face
{of the little man who had blundered
‘through the French windows of the
cottage at Cawston and whose life she -
had without doubt saved.
| “So you were hunting us after all,”
she whispered.
“Sheer luck,” he murmured. “Here!”
He stooped down and picked up
| what was little more than a sodden
‘mass from the ground—her cloak—
| and wrapped it around her. He push-
‘ed the torch into her hand and pointed
Ito a postern gate at the end of the
. mews, which stood ajar.
| “We've got the jewels,” he confided,
| “we’ve got that brother of yours,
we've got Uncle Jo. They're in the
i cells by this time. Take your chance:
{if you want it.”
“Benskin the detective!” she gasp-
“You saved my life,” he muttered
shamefacedly. “Im only a man.”
She laughed softly, leaned towards
him, and he felt the light touch of her
lips upon his cheek. Then she was
gone, up the mews, like a flying bat.
Benskin returned to headquarters io
report his partial failure—By BE.
Philips Oppenheim.
723 Arrests in Month.
Members of the Pensylvania State
Police during July made 267 regular
patrols, 2336 special patrols, 1486 in-
vestigations and 728 arrests. In the
performance of such duty they travel-
ed 136,908 miles. Stolen property
valued at $8605 was recovered. A
large number of arrests were made
during the month for petty thievery
in various counties.
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